Gentle Shepherd Blog

Our team at Gentle Shepherd Hospice wants you to have the practical information you need to make the most of every day. Check out these helpful articles and devotionals written by Kim Eckenroth our co-founder and VP of patient care.

Should you take over Mom’s checkbook?

Should you take over Mom’s checkbook?

Money matters are often intensely private. And no one wants to infringe on a family member's independence. Yet it is through (sometimes expensive) financial mishaps that you may learn of changes in your parent's memory and thinking. Signs of a problem Diseases that...

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Dementia dogs

Dementia dogs

Dog training organizations are looking toward a new challenge: Training highly skilled "dementia dogs." These dogs are individually trained to meet the needs of persons with memory loss problems. They provide safety and companionship. They also relieve the anxiety of...

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Time for smart monitoring?

Time for smart monitoring?

From sensors and cameras to remote alarm systems, today's marketplace offers a plethora of technology to help older adults safely age in place. Those devices with monitoring features are particularly useful if your loved one lives on their own, whether near to you or...

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Coping with vision loss

Coping with vision loss

It's common for those newly diagnosed with a vision-loss condition to feel anxious and depressed. Understandably so! They worry about losing their independence. Also, that they will need help with many activities of life. This in turn suggests a loss of privacy. Many...

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What is “cremation authorization”?

What is “cremation authorization”?

With National Healthcare Decisions Day coming up on April 16, it's good to review who your loved one has chosen as their healthcare power of attorney (sometimes called a "proxy" or "agent"). This is who will make decisions for them when they are no longer able to do...

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Is Dad taking his meds “as directed?”

Is Dad taking his meds “as directed?”

Did you know that nearly half of adults taking prescription medications for a chronic condition make errors in taking their meds? The most common problem areas: Memory. Forgetting to take a medicationOrganization. Failing to order a refill in time and...

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How to read an Explanation of Benefits

How to read an Explanation of Benefits

Before your loved one pays a medical bill, wait for the insurance's Explanation of Benefits (from Medicare, this is called a "Medicare Summary Notice"). This document indicates what services were billed by which providers for what days. It is an important summary to...

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Maximizing your resources

Maximizing your resources

When we think of "resources," as family caregivers we might think of money. Or time. But there is another resource we're using every day that is often overlooked: Emotional energy. Our emotions and mood contribute mightily to our ability to deal with challenges. When...

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When kidneys fail: Dialysis?

When kidneys fail: Dialysis?

If the person you care for has chronic or advanced kidney disease, dialysis will come up as a treatment option. This procedure mimics the cleansing function of the kidneys. It mechanically "rinses" the blood to take out toxins. Dialysis is not a cure for kidney...

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When high blood pressure goes untreated

When high blood pressure goes untreated

Don't confuse a lack of symptoms with a lack of risk. A person with high blood pressure usually feels "just fine." And that makes it easy to also feel unconcerned. Your loved one may not be motivated to treat high blood pressure. Or may want to stop taking medications...

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Dementia communication: Speaking

Dementia communication: Speaking

Nearly every type of dementia compromises the ability to process language. It's harder for the affected person to grasp words, to comprehend their meaning, and to track what's being said. Communication with your family member may seem a frustrating struggle. Still,...

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Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a very common condition affecting the retina of the eye. It causes blurry vision and dark spots in the center of the visual field. This makes it challenging to read, drive, and recognize faces. Although AMD typically gets...

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